American, United, and US Airways could definitely use an overhaul of their in-flight service; the three airlines were ranked as serving the worst food, having the worst economy-class seats (jetBlue had the best) and the rudest flight attendants (with United coming in dead last here). Nobody's saying that they have to become like Singapore Airlines, but surely a few improvements here and there might be a sound investment? After all, how many people choose to fly on one of the US legacy carriers because of service? With the possible exception of Continental, I'm betting that very few actually do. Most people buy a ticket on United or American or Northwest because of their route network, or maybe a good price that they managed to get. If one of those airlines improved its in-flight product above its competitors - nothing drastic, necessarily, but maybe politer flight attendants, cleaner planes, and more comfortable seats, for a start - then maybe people would go out of their way to fly that airline. Just a thought.
A few other interesting tidbits from the survey: fliers perceived international airlines to be safer than US domestic airlines, and more people felt safer in the front of the aircraft than anywhere else. 13% of fliers said that they had "knowingly transported banned items through security," although no examples of what these 'banned items' could be were provided. And "for those who didn't mind celebrity seatmates, preference went to the President & First Lady."
photo of a United 737-300 cabin by caribb from Flickr, licensed under the Creative Commons